Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Saturday urged the members of the legal profession to introspect on expediting the dispensation of justice.
Addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana in Chandigarh, Ansari urged it and the Bar Council of India to lead such an effort so that the legal profession could guide society and the polity.
"I believe the legal profession can, indeed must, reclaim the hallowed ground that it occupied during our freedom struggle and in the early years of the fledgling republic. The need for introspection is imperative; it should lead to an ethical renewal in actual practice. It is essential for the legal profession today to help expedite the dispensation of justice," Ansari said.
Recalling the sterling role of the Indian bar in the country's freedom struggle, in formulating the constitution and in providing leadership inputs for steering the fledgling republic, Ansari said that the legal profession had a big role to play in our society.
He observed that advocates, in addition to being professionals, were also officers of the courts and have to play a vital role in the administration of justice. "They have a huge responsibility towards the society," he added.
He said, "The overwhelming majority of our founding fathers were lawyers, including the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, our first president, Rajendra Prasad, the first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the chairman of the drafting committee of the Constitution, Dr Ambedkar.
"The role of lawyers in the initial years of our independence was critical in emphasizing the rule of law in the governance of the country. As intellectuals and civil society activists, advocates were role models in society, helping the marginalized and the downtrodden."
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil highlighted the need for using modern day technology in the process of law. He suggested that there could be a possibility of video recording of eyewitnesses and evidences provided in the court.
Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said that a pilot project is going to be launched in certain districts of the country soon to provide retainership to young lawyers in order to support them during their initial difficult years.
"This would then be extended to the entire country," he said.